Firefighters Recreating a Piece of Odessa History

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - A major effort is underway to recreate a legacy for Odessa. That work of art should be finished soon thanks to two local firefighters. On Friday, NewsWest 9 took viewers inside the Odessa Fire Department to see how an image from the past will be front and center for all to see.

"I think [the mural] does a lot for the morale of the fire department," David Dilbeck, an Odessa firefighter and paramedic, said.

When they're not fighting fires, both Dilbeck and Al Mata are working on something else in their downtime, bringing an old painting back to life.

"The mural was orginally painted in 1974, at the Central Fire Station," Odessa Fire Marshal Detra White, explained. "We vacated that building, but that was such and important part of the building, that we wanted to bring a bit of that over with us."

This week, Mata and Dilbeck have been tapping into their artistic side on one of the front office's walls for about a week. They said it's not easy. They're using pictures of the old mural to paint the new one nearly identical, stroke by stroke.

"We're having to mix different paste, try and get the same tone," Mata said. "There is a lot of colors we see in the background that we are trying to make them come out."

While it may be a big job, both Mata and Dilbeck said having something like the mural visible at the front of the station is worth the effort.

"A lot of fire departments, especially in the newer cities [tradition] is getting lost I think, in time," Dilbeck said. "And I think it's really neat [the fire department] took the time to actually consider the tradition of the City of Odessa and to move some of that over here to mix in the old with the new, and give us something to be proud of."

The firefighters said it will probably take about another week to get the mural finished.